Wednesday, March 18, 2015

[WoW] I'm Only Happy When It Raids

I've basically stopped logging into WoW excepting for our weekly raid night on Wednesdays, and even that we've had some issues. We lost one healer early on, another healer is effectively out due to real life issues, and tonight just before our raid was to start, we cancelled because one of our tanks decided to stop subscribing (and only told us two hours before the raid itself).

It makes me a bit sad because I still think WoW's a good game overall, but after 10 years of playing, and 6 years in our current guild, I feel like I'm ready for something else. Except that I love raiding with our guild group. Raiding in WoW still gives me an immense amount of pleasure, and the guild group is a lot of fun, even if we don't progress anywhere near the speed other guilds do. And since we're short handed and folks have been on vacation, we've had two weeks off in a row. That means in a 3 week period I'll have logged in once between raids just to ensure my characters don't get gkicked for inactivity.

I still enjoy the theorycrafting aspect, so I doubt I'll stop writing about WoW, and I do want to keep raiding, but the rest of the content has lost a lot of its luster to me. I've run the existing 5-mans to death; questing was fun the first couple times through the content, but I don't want to do it again; pet battles, I'd rather play Pok√©mon; collecting things holds no sway with me, be they mounts, pets, or whatever; garrisons are a fun concept, but similar to the iOS games of the same sort, I eventually just peter off and stop bothering. They did give me a lot of enjoyment for a good 2 months though, so that says something. 

MMOs are strange. Unlike nearly every other game genre, they have to keep players engaged for an extremely long amount of time. Compare that to FPS games, single-player RPGs, or puzzle games--they're all built around the initial sales, and if the game manages to have some sort of long tail, it's a bonus. But if someone said Blizzard built StarCraft with the intention to keep players engaged for 10 years, I'd laugh at them. It was a fortuitous accident.

So the idea that a single game--even one with as immense scope as an MMORPG like WoW, Guild Wars, and so on--needs to maintain a profitable player-base for a decade is still a newish concept. We're still seeing companies trying to figure out this games-as-a-service model (GaaS, if you will, a subset of SaaS). Some moving to F2P, some pumping out content like crazy, and everything in between.

But for myself, a player who has been entertained for a decade, my tastes have (seemingly) gotten narrower as I've aged and played the game, to the point where only a single aspect of WoW still drives me, or so it seems. And I guess as long as I'm okay paying a subscription fee to access that specific content, it's not that big a deal, but I admit my time has been drawn largely by FFXIV as of late. 

It's another blog post incoming, but they've managed to produce an amazing amount of content in a shorter time than Blizzard with WoW, and I admit, I've been finding the story and questing content a lot more engaging than WoW's. The question for me though will be whether once I hit max level, will the raiding content--the stuff I really love--be sufficient to draw my interest long-term? But having something fresh, highly polished, and a slightly different take than WoW in front of me makes me question whether my tastes have actually gotten narrower, or if WoW is finally aging beyond the point of fun for me.

RIFT, TERA, GW2, and SWTOR never caught my attention the way FFXIV has, so there's a je ne sais quoi about FFXIV. Or is it simply the fact that FFXIV is just more content that I've yet to consume, and I'll end up feeling similarly once I finish a lot of the current content? I've no idea, but at this point my plan is to continue raiding with my guild in WoW, and probably play FFXIV as my primary MMO otherwise. #WoW, #Raiding


  1. Also, bonus points to anyone who gets the title reference.

  2. I've been in the same boat for a while. I raided with a group of close friends through Wrath and Cata, then when most of them quit I sat out most of Pandaria. Now I'm back with a new group in Draenor but were it not for the raid I would probably have unsubbed months ago. All the other things I do (pet collecting mainly right now) are not strong enough to hold me here if I didn't have that other thing.

    Sad thing is for me doing the same kind of raiding in other MMOs just felt like more of the same. Nothing gets shaken up so without a solid group I can't find a reason to want to do it. Plus it means I often am looking at a big pre-raid grind for gear if I try something new.

    1. Yeah, for a lot of MMOs, it's pretty much the people around you. I doubt I'd have stayed in WoW for as long as I have without my guild.

      I actually don't mind the pre-raid gear grind. It's a solid sense of progression. Something that keeps me busy. Once I hit the actual raid gear grind, though, it's raiding or bust. Then I get bored when I'm not raiding.

  3. I'm surprised people have made it this far. Its pretty clear the same old formula of new raid tiers and PVE content has a limited lifespan on it.

    Sounds like the ramped up raid difficulty as well, and thats had a cumulative effect on morale of raiders as a whole. The impossibility of certain encounters can be will-shattering.

    Don't worry, lots of great RPGs coming out in the next two months (Pillars of Eternity / The Witcher 3 for starters). Thats at least 5 months of content right there.

    Then you can back a PVP game like Crowfall and have some real fun ;P

    1. As long as content comes out at a decent clip, the formula works pretty well I find. The issue is, of course, what that decent clip is. FFXIV's rate is a decent bit higher than WoW's, and that's worked in their favour. For themepark MMOs, content is key. Without it, you don't have a very complex framework in which to create your own goals and content, unlike sandbox games like Minecraft.

      Crowfall I'm not backing. Not because I don't think it will succeed--I think it will, they're certainly the best organized/pre-funded Kickstarter I've seen--but because I doubt I'd enjoy the gameplay very much. I won't discount it, but disorganized PvP is not my idea of fun.

  4. I think for FFXIV, it really depends on if you get "hooked" by one of three long-term projects:

    1. Raiding Coil with a static team
    2. Doing the Relic weapon grind
    3. Leveling up multiple classes (including crafting ones)

    If you don't get hooked by one of those options, I think you will end up in the same boat after you've consumed all the main content. That's the situation I am in at the moment. I pretty much just log in whenever there is a new patch.

    1. I'm just playing it super casually until expansion time rolls around. It's a great unwind game and I feel like I can get something done in short bursts.

    2. You're probably quite right, Rohan. I'm in Belghast's merry (not so little anymore) Free Company and they're pretty active, so I may get to do some raiding.

      And agreed Murf, it's pretty easy to get something done in short bursts, which definitely helps it fill in gaps.